Beethoven Grande Sonata N. 3 Analysis

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Composed in 1796 and published the next year by Artaria in Vienna, the Sonata N.4 in E-flat major opus 7, dedicated to the "Comtesse Babette de Keglevics", was named "Grande Sonate" by Beethoven himself.

This is a clue, together with its single opus number and its being published alone, on how high it was esteemed by the composer.

It is the second longest Sonata, after the Hammerklavier Opus 106, and lasts for more than half an hour.

With this sonata, the entire piano style of Beethoven enters in what may be called the "Symphonic Piano". It is where the keyboard gets its new identity, abandons "old" idioms and starts to simulate an entire orchestra.

The first movement, Molto allegro e con brio, starts with a packed energy by the animated
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All three Sonatas of opus 10 were dedicated to the Comtesse Anna Margarete von Braun (or "Browne") and all published in Vienna in 1798 by the firm Eder.

Interestingly, the composer wrote: "in my new Sonatas [are] very short Menuets, not longer than sixteen or twenty-four bars long...". Yet, the first two, opus 10 N.1 and N.2, are with three movements, only number 3 has a Menuet.

One of the most remarkable aspects of this new series opus 10 is best described by Paul Badura-Skoda: "The three Sonatas reveal a more subtle formulation of the score, specially in the inner voicing textures. And most importantly, an even more "organic" connection between parts and movements. This will be sustained and improved upon by the composer all his life. As with each new series, we have here an evolution characteristic of the artist."

Movements are all brief and powerfully compact.

The analogy between the theme of the first movement: Molto allegro e con brio and the one in Mozart's C minor sonata K 457 is widely known and discussed. However, in Beethoven, we have this unique dialogue between voices and fragments, where phrases oppose to one other, conflict and start again in different
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The movement as a whole, beautifully makes the ground for the Largo.

In Largo e mesto, second movement, "Mesto" means sad. The bare bones expression of the "inner feelings" of the young composer. By its elaboration and sheer length this movement supersedes all slow movements composed until then.

"Where is the theme of this movement?" asks Andre Boucourechliev and answers "everywhere, because with Beethoven one should not seek the theme in the beginning or within a melodic form. The "theme" here is a rhythmical motion of two times three eights which emerges in all different ways, with changing relationships in the fields of harmony, melody, dynamics, durations, weight and even silences. Starting from this "cell" or this "matrix", the imagination escapes towards most distant universes and meets the most unexpected, the newest."

Regarding the quoted idea of a "cell", one can point out the diminished-fourth interval so characteristic in the entire movement.

The Menuetto is indicated "dolce" and it brings very effectively "light" and "warm" after the preceding Largo. Sort of consolation or as Alfred Brendel said: "a balm over a wound". A kind of cheerfulness appear in the very animated
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